Trader Joe’s United, a union representing workers at Trader Joe’s, has accused the company of wrongfully terminating an employee who openly supported the union and sought to improve working conditions. The employee, Stephen Andrade, had been with Trader Joe’s for nearly 18 years and was involved in organizing the company’s first unionized store in Hadley, Massachusetts. Trader Joe’s United has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response to Andrade’s firing. The union is calling for Andrade’s immediate reinstatement.
According to Andrade, his manager cited his failure to remove a jigsaw from the back of the store as the reason for his termination. However, Andrade claims the tool was the store’s property and had been there for years prior to his transfer to the Hadley location. Andrade believes his firing was retaliatory and related to his vocal support for the union and his efforts to prioritize the creation of custom signage at the store. Andrade asserts that Trader Joe’s has been discouraging sign-making and redirecting workers to other tasks. The union’s claims will be investigated by labor board officials to determine if there is merit to the allegations.
The Hadley store is one of four Trader Joe’s locations that have unionized with Trader Joe’s United since last year. The company has actively opposed union efforts, and some workers in Hadley have circulated a petition to decertify the union. Andrade speculates that his firing may be tied to this anti-union sentiment. He now needs to find new health care coverage for himself, his wife, and their daughter since his wife does not qualify for the company’s health plan due to inadequate hours.
Overall, Trader Joe’s United is calling on Trader Joe’s to reinstate Andrade and is seeking negotiation of first contracts for its organized stores.